Militant Journalism

Newark Police: Guilty of racism!


We are going to do what we always do with police brutality, we are going to the streets. –Larry Hamm

The Department of Justice concluded a three year investigation on what people of Newark, NJ have known for a long time: the Newark Police Department is racist.

Some highlights of the findings included the following:

1. The New Jersey’s largest city cops have repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of its citizens, failing to provide constitutional evidence in 75 percent of pedestrian stops.

2. More than 20 percent of the officers used excessive force.

3.  Narcotics, gang unit and prisoner processing cops routinely stole from those arrested.

4.  Blacks, who make up 52 percent of the city’s population, are 2.5 times more likely to be detained by the police than whites.

A federal monitor will be appointed to oversee the Newark Police Department once a federal judge signs off on one. But who better to ask about the findings of this investigation than the organization that the people of Newark have turned to for decades and which has taken action in defense of those terrorized by the police: the People’s Organization for Progress (POP). POP’s weekly meeting convened to discuss the events on July 24.

“This is a partial victory, a victory due to popular resistance,” explained Larry Hamm, POP Chairman.

“A police review board has been a demand since 1966,” he commented. “But there would have to be legislation to implement the police review board to give this board subpoena power.”

“It’s an acknowledgement by the federal government that police brutality exists in Newark—we know that—no one can say that rights weren’t being violated.”

“And we need to monitor the federal monitor,” added Salaam Ismail, of the National United Youth Council.

The group discussed options to stay in the struggle and continue to make gains to push back the police and the terror that has been unleashed on the people of Newark. The dozens in attendance have more questions that remain unanswered.

“Where is the costs for this going to come from?” questioned Hamm.

“People have been brutalized by the police and the chief of police calls for more trainings? None are to be prosecuted? He needs to be called on the carpet,” said Lisa Davis.

“The officers who carried out violations should be indicted,” added another member.

The people of Newark are observing the words of Frederick Douglas that guide the work of POP. Without struggle, there is no progress. The struggle has won significant reforms, but an organization that understands that it’s the barrel that’s racist and not just some apples, that can lead the people to victory.

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